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Multilingual Baltimore documentary to premiere at Loyola

| By Stephanie Weaver

Loyola University Maryland’s Modern Languages and Literatures Department will premiere their documentary, Multilingual Baltimore: The City We Know, on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 5:30 p.m. in the Fourth Floor Program Room in the Andrew White Student Center on Loyola’s Evergreen campus. The 45-minute documentary features Loyola foreign language students from Arabic, Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish courses interviewing immigrants residing in Baltimore in their native languages.

The film will be publicly screened at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson on Thursday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. A discussion about linguistic and cultural diversity present throughout Baltimore will follow. Both screenings are free and open to the public. 

The project, led by Andrea Thomas, Ph.D., associate professor of French, Patrick Brugh, Ph.D., director of the Language Learning center, and Emma Cervone, Ph.D., affiliate instructor of Spanish and Italian, was funded by a CCSJ Engaged Scholarship grant and a Maryland Humanities Council grant. The interviews were conducted over the spring of 2017.

The project started as an oral histories project with the intent of curating dialogues between Loyola students studying foreign languages and immigrants in the Baltimore area. The students recorded their conversations with the immigrants, as a way to improve their language skills and learning about the immigrant experience. As the project went on, it grew into an opportunity for multigenerational and cross-cultural exchange. The videos that comprise this documentary touch on Baltimore history, immigrant and youth culture, and assimilation and integration. 

Sara Demme, ’17, interviewed an immigrant from Egypt.

“I took away from this interview a better understanding of Waleed’s life and his experiences moving to an English-speaking country. It is comforting to learn that people in Egypt have as much difficulty in learning English as we do in learning Arabic. I also learned that in the United States we have a very different education system,” she said. “This was an excellent experience, both to practice Arabic, and to learn about other people’s experiences.”

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